According to data released this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October, despite expectations for a weak labor market in the face of the federal government shutdown.
While the picture is still not ideal with the national unemployment rate inching up to 7.3 percent, the Labor Department reported strong hiring in industries such as retail and hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare. Additionally, the number of eligible jobless who have given up looking for work helped drive the labor force participation rate down to 62.8 percent.
Experts suggest this could show a growing divide between the employed and the out-of-luck. While skilled workers are enjoying higher demand for their services, those without jobs are having an increasingly harder time reentering the labor force as the job market narrows.
In an uplifting turn of events, the data also suggest that the shutdown was not as damaging as many analysts had initially feared. Although about 448,000 federal employees were on furlough during October, many will receive back pay—which could boost spending over the next few months.
For more information about the October jobs report, visit here.